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US officials step up rhetoric on Russia link to email hacks

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Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence said on Sunday that evidence implicated Russia in recent email hacks tied to the Nov. 8 U.S. election, contradicting his running mate, Donald Trump, who has cast doubt on Russia’s involvement.

Pence’s comments came after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview that aired on Sunday that the United States would be sending a message to Russia “at the time of our choosing” about the email attacks. Obama administration officials initially refused to say if they thought Russia was behind the attacks, before accusing Moscow for the first time earlier this month.

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JULY 26

President Barack Obama said in an interview with NBC News that “anything’s possible” when asked if Russia hacked into the Democratic National Committee. “What we do know is the Russians hack our systems, not just government systems, but private systems,” Obama said. “But what the motives were in terms of the leaks and all that, I can’t say directly, but what I do know is that Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin.”

JULY 28

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, speaking about the hack of the DNC emails, said the U.S. intelligence community was not ready to “make the call on attribution” as to who was responsible.

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AUG. 15

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson offered state officials help from hacking threats or other possible election tampering, in the face of unsubstantiated allegations by Trump that the system is open to fraud.

SEPT. 7

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Speaking at a conference in Washington, Clapper said that “the Russians hack our systems all the time,” but he did not officially blame them for the intrusions into Democratic Party organizations.

SEPT. 20

During a live interview with the Washington Post, Clapper said Russia had a tradition of trying to interfere in elections in other countries. He added that his biggest concern was not that a foreign power would try to affect the outcome of the U.S. election but instead “cast doubt on the whole process.”

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OCT. 7

The U.S. government for the first time formally accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations.

“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the Obama administration said in a statement.

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OCT. 16

Biden said in an interview with NBC News that the United States would send a “proportional” response to Russia for the hacking “at the time of our choosing and under the circumstances that have the greatest impact.”

(Reporting by Dustin Volz in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)


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After Trump: No free pass for Republicans — they own this nightmare

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With the impeachment inquiry leveling up this month as public hearings begin, and with an election that might actually be the end of Donald Trump now less than a year away, the campaign to let Trump's Republican allies — even the most villainous offenders — move on and pretend this never happened is already underway.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Sadly, the clearest articulation of the let-bygones-be-bygones mentality has come from a Democrat — unsurprisingly, former Vice President Joe Biden.Biden, who is still, somehow, the frontrunner in Democratic primary polling, spoke at a chi-chi fundraiser on Wednesday, and dropped this pearl of wisdom: "With Donald Trump out of the way, you’re going to see a number of my Republican colleagues have an epiphany."

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Elections 2016

As climate crisis-fueled fires rage, fears grow of an ‘uninhabitable’ California

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As activist Bill McKibben put it, "We've simply got to slow down the climate crisis."

With wildfires raging across California on Wednesday—and with portions of the state living under an unprecedented "Extreme Red Flag Warning" issued by the National Weather Service due to the severe conditions—some climate experts are openly wondering if this kind of harrowing "new normal" brought on by the climate crisis could make vast regions of the country entirely uninhabitable.

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Elections 2016

‘A profound emoluments clause violation’: Andrew Napolitano slams Trump’s hosting the G7 at Doral

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In the wake of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's announcement this Thursday that next year's G7 summit will be hosted at President Trump's Doral golf club, Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano pointed out that Trump would be violating the emoluments clause if he were to go through with the move.

At the outset of the segment, Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto said that the announcement is "effectively saying the president has given himself this contract."

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